Brooklyn DA candidate Ama Dwimoh calls for passage of Child Victims Act
Ama Dwimoh, a candidate in Brooklyn’s district attorney race in the fall, held a press conference near the steps of Borough Hall on Friday afternoon to call upon New York lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to pass the Child Victims Act (CVA).
“We are here to demand that the state Legislature pass the Child Victims Act so that thousands of brave men and women who are survivors of child sexual abuse can finally get their justice,” said Dwimoh, who created the Crimes Against Children Bureau at the Brooklyn DA’s Office.
The CVA would give survivors of child sexual abuse older than 23 a one-year window to file civil charges against their abusers, and it would eliminate the statute of limitations for any future cases in both criminal and civil court. It would also remove a 90-day notice of claim for public institutions that help to shield them from liability.
“One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused as children in New York state,” Dwimoh said. “That’s a problem. More than half of the sexually abused children live in the same household as their abusers, and many are financially dependent on their abusers well into their 20s.
“Yet NYS has a law which makes it impossible for survivors 23 years and older to bring their abusers to court and that is simply unacceptable,” she continued. “The law cannot get in the way of justice.”
Dwimoh surrounded herself by survivors of child sexual abuse on Friday as she called upon the Legislature to act on the bill before its legislative session ends in about four weeks. One by one, four of them told their own stories and expressed why it was hard for them to come forward.
“It was not until I was older, past the age of 23, that I was able to process my abuse and what had happened to me when I was 9 years old,” said Ana Lopez Wagner.
“New York state is one of the worst states in the country in regards to the statute of limitations for child sex abuse. It’s long past time that we correct this and give survivors their day in court,” Lopez Wagner continued.
Dwimoh urged the other candidates in the race for Kings County District Attorney to come forward and support the CVA. At least two other candidates, including Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, have also backed the bill.
A spokesman from Cuomo’s office said that the CVA does not currently have enough public support.
“We continue to work with the advocates to build the political support to get it passed, which does not exist at this time,” said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.
“Each day we wait, another abuser walks free,” said survivor Bridie Farrell. “I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and I deserve due process in court.”
Dwimoh is currently one of seven people who are expected to run for Kings County DA this fall. She currently serves as special counsel to the borough president, and formerly worked for 21 years at the Brooklyn DA’s Office, where she served as the chief of the Crimes Against Children Bureau.
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